Engine Disassembly 327 Chevy
The 327 small-block in the 1966 Corvette had been rebuilt 26 years prior to me buying the car in 2012, but had never been fired up. After taking off the cylinder heads and finding everything was new, I didn't need to remove the motor from the car. This saved time, but because of the time elapsed, all engine components were inspected before starting the motor.
Tools Needed for Engine Disassembly
- Sockets, ratchets, and extensions in 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2"
- Shallow and deep sockets from 1/4" to 1"
- Wrenches: open-end and combination, from 7/16" to 1"
- A soft-blow hammer and screwdriver set
- Harmonic balancer tool (not essential, but helpful)
- Digital camera (not required, but invaluable for reference during re-assembly)
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When I bought this Corvette, the carburetor, alternator, distributor, water pump (along with assorted nuts, bolts, washers, wires, and hoses), were in boxes. The radiator was not installed, so no coolant draining was needed.
Remove SBC Intake Manifold
After removing the 12 bolts, prying the intake manifold loose from the engine block was done by lightly tapping with a hammer and flat-head screwdriver. After the manifold was off, the lifter valley was covered with an old towel before scraping the front and rear block rails clean.
Note the road draft tube in the picture above. Chevy used these until the late sixties, soon after the oil filler tube was removed and PCV valves in valve covers appeared.
Removing the valve covers accesses the valve-train. Note the tray for the push-rods, rocker arms, ball seats, locknuts, and lifters. They are kept in the order in which they were removed. Although it made no difference here, since this engine was never fired, it's still a good habit.
SBC Cylinder Head Removal
SBC cylinder heads are attached with 17 head bolts. After all the bolts are removed (make sure you've removed all 17) the head has a tendency to stick to the block and head gasket. Again, a light tap with a hammer usually jars them free.
A small-block Chevy has three different length bolts. To keep the head-bolts together and in order, I took a piece of cardboard and punched 17 holes in it.
Upon cylinder-head removal, I was glad to see brand-new pistons and smooth cylinder walls. Marvel Mystery Oil was poured into the open bores. I let them soak for over a week before even trying to hand-turn the crank.
If any of your lifters appear stuck, don't force them out. In most cases it's just varnish - pour some Marvel Mystery Oil or other penetrating fluid on them and let them soak for a day or two.
Once they've loosened, if they're still a little stubborn to remove, crank the engine (slowly by hand) until they pop up a bit. Even the most stubborn lifter will come out without force.
There is a lifter removal tool that mechanically expands as you extend an internal thread section, forcing two hooked edges to expand outward, into the the snap ring groove or retainer spring in the internal groove. I've always had been able to remove lifters with patience and penetrating fluid.
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Harmonic Balancer Removal
There are three bolts holding the crank pulley to the damper - mine had the fourth bolt in the center. 327 crankshafts never came from the factory with a harmonic balancer bolt, but it was, and still is, a popular upgrade. The crank needs to be held in place while this large bolt is removed. I used a flywheel holder while a helper loosened the crank bolt.
The harmonic balancer was removed with a SBC balancer remover-installer. I bought this tool over 20 years ago - a good investment if you're planning other engine rebuilds.
The oil pan needs to be lowered or removed to take off the timing cover. Having the car on four jack stands made this possible. Once the tie rod assembly was loosened and dropped out of the way, I removed the oil pan. It will be stripped and repainted before re-assembly.
The timing chain cover is held on by ten bolts with star washers. The cover is pretty thin, so if you pry too hard to remove it you may distort it. If yours is stuck, try a putty knife.
Clean all traces of the old gasket with a razor blade and/or gasket scraper.
With the timing-chain cover off the engine, the three cam-gear bolts are removed. Cam gear and timing chain are come off together. The crank gear was new and did not need to be removed.
Taking the camshaft out required the radiator support to be removed to gain clearance. I put the cam-gear back on temporarily with one bolt to use as a handle while removing the camshaft. Work the cam out of the engine block slowly by twisting back and forth. Be careful, you don't want to scratch the cam bearings.
Excessive force is never needed to remove a camshaft. If it does not come out easily, STOP. Something is holding it in the block, either the fuel-pump rod or the distributor gear.
After sitting for years, the oil on the camshaft turned to hardened resin. As there were no decipherable markings, I did some homework and bought a new cam.